Living with Type 2 Diabetes in an Alcohol-centric Culture: Simple Guidelines to Follow for Safely Balancing Cocktail Hour and Diabetes

By: Amanda Rugg, LWDI Intern

Being able to enjoy alcoholic beverages while managing diabetes often seems intimidating at first. These simple tips will guide you to safely enjoying your favorite diabetic-friendly cocktail just in time for the holiday season! 

Alcohol & Diabetes: 

Understanding Main Factors Contributing to Blood Glucose Levels:

The effects of drinking alcohol are important to consider for diabetes. Drinking alcohol alters liver function and impacts blood sugar levels. 

The main functions of the liver include producing and releasing blood sugar, storing energy, and eliminating toxic substances.1 After drinking alcohol, it is recognized as a poisonous substance. The liver is only able to perform one task at a time and too much alcohol can block production and release of glucose from the liver, causing your blood sugar levels to drop.1,2,3

Type 2 Diabetes Medication Interactions with Alcohol:

If combined with enough alcohol, the effects of diabetes medications including oral medication (sulfonylureas. meglitinides) and insulin could often result in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.2,3,4

How to Drink: 

Tips to follow when preparing to enjoy cocktail hour safely with diabetes that help you drink smarter-not harder:

  • Have your blood sugar under control 
  • Inform your friends that you have diabetes 
  • Have some form of Diabetes identification with you 
  • Drink with a meal or carbohydrate containing snack
  • Drink slowly 
  • Continuously monitor your glucose levels: Before, during, and after the meal 
  • Come prepared! Pack a snack in case of low blood sugar4:
    • granola bars with protein, nuts, dried fruit 

How Much to Drink?

According to the American Diabetes Association’s recommendation for adults with diabetes: 

  • Women should have no more than 1 drink per day 
  • Men should have no more than 2 drinks per day4
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Ordering from the Drink Menu: 

Cocktail Favorites:

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1. He X, Rebholz CM, Daya N, Lazo M, Selvin E. Alcohol consumption and incident diabetes: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Diabetologia. 2019 May;62(5):770-778. 

2. Steiner JL, Crowell KT, Lang CH. Impact of Alcohol on Glycemic Control and Insulin Action. Biomolecules. 2015;5(4):2223-2246.

3. Cryer PE. Glycemic goals in diabetes: trade-off between glycemic control and iatrogenic hypoglycemia. Diabetes. 2017;63(7):2188-2195.

4.Introduction: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes-2020. Diabetes Care. 2020 Jan;43(Suppl 1):S1-S2. 

5. Diabetes and Alcohol. Diabetes Teaching Center at the University of California website. Accessed September 25, 2020.

The Importance of Early Detection and Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes

By Ryan Jeannotte, LWDI Intern

Ninety to ninety-two percent of people with diabetes have type 2, which is largely preventable. This means that with early detection, nutritional interventions, and an increase in physical activity we can prevent the condition and symptoms associated with uncontrolled diabetes from occurring. Intervening when an individual has a pre-diabetes diagnosis can significantly reduce the risk of developing a variety of serious health conditions.

Intern Spotlight: Kenzie

Here’s how LWDI intern and Tennessee Tech University grad, Kenzie, will add “something extra” to the dietetics world:

“My background in personal training and working with clients has helped me prepare for incorporating fitness and nutrition together. I would like to show the community the benefits of not only nutrition, but fitness as well and incorporate them together.”

In addition to this, she is adding “something extra” to her current outpatient rotation by creating an awesome pumpkin bread recipe with a healthy twist! Check out her recipe by visiting…/fall-recipe…/

Great work Kenzie!

Intern Spotlight: Liat

Here’s how University of Tennessee grad, Liat, will add “something extra” to the Dietetics world!

“Hello, my name is Liat Koenig and I am a dietetic intern at Lagniappe Wellness. I believe good nutrition is key to a healthy lifestyle and can prevent many common illnesses. As a future Registered Dietitian, I would like to work with children and young adults challenged by obesity, diabetes, and other nutritional issues, which can be managed through nutritional interventions and lifestyle behavior change. Something extra that I will bring to the Dietetics world is my love for cooking! I would like to share my cooking skills and show how cooking healthy meals can be accessible, simple, and tasty.”

Intern Spotlight: Emily

Here’s how Emily will add “something extra” to the dietetics world!

“I’m Emily, an intern from New Orleans, Louisiana. Being from New Orleans, food surrounds everything we do and is an integral part of our culture. Something extra that I would be bringing to the table would be to show that eating a healthier diet doesn’t have to be boring and bland. In the future, I hope to help those with diseases such as heart disease and diabetes improve their quality of life through nutrition!”

Exercise: The Missing Link to Insulin Resistance

By: Virginia Pearson, LWDI Intern

Exercise is an important factor in metabolic health. During physical activity, our muscle cells can easily take in glucose in response to insulin from the food we eat (1), which helps maintain blood glucose at normal level. Choosing not to be active throughout the day triggers our muscles to become insulin resistant, which decreases the ability for our body to use the food we eat as fuel (2,1). Over time, insulin resistance slowly causes metabolic health complications to emerge. In order to prevent chronic diseases, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, we should engage in daily healthy eating behaviors along with regular physical activity to support our overall health (3,4).

Intern Spotlight: Hourig

Here’s how Hourig will add “something extra” to the Dietetics world!

“As a future RDN I want to make sure I advocate for my patients and make sure all their needs are met. My lagniappe or “a little something extra” I will bring to the world of dietetics will be my own personal cultural background. I moved to America from Lebanon at a young age and I understand how comforting it is when healthcare workers can understand and relate to your struggles personally. I want to create a comforting environment for all my future patients who are immigrants! Navigating a new country with all new food choices can be difficult but I am confident I can help in that transition!”

Intern Spotlight: Virginia

Here’s how Virginia plans to add “something extra” to the Dietetics world:” ¡Hola! I am Virginia Pearson, a distance Lagniappe intern completing my rotations in St. Louis, Missouri. I love food, not only for its foundation to our overall health, but its complexity in our lives. Food is cultural, personal, and a great medium in bringing people together. Something extra that I bring to the table is the focus on embracing the diversity of whole foods by adding foods to one’s diet and pro-actively working in my community to bring nutritious food access to all. ¡Buen provecho!”

Intern Spotlight: Faith

Intern Spotlight: Faith

Here’s how Faith will add “a little something” extra to the Dietetics world:
“As a dietitian, I hope to work with all ages and backgrounds, but I have a true passion for working with kids. I spread my lagniappe through my love of teaching kids’ nutrition and gymnastics. Children are the perfect candidates to teach nutrition because you can educate healthy habits from an early age. I hope to help patients find their happiness through foods they already love and hope to help them discover new recipes with fun tastes and flavors. Along with healthy nutrition habits I also like to coach artistic gymnastics. I have done gymnastics all my life and as a coach, I have found the perfect outlet to spread my knowledge and skills with others. As a future dietitian and dietetic intern, I am excited to start coaching nutrition to give individuals the power to be the healthiest they can be.”

Intern Spotlight: Alison

Alison is completing the distance track in Denver, Colorado. Her background is in culinary arts and food science, and she is excited to turn her passion for food into a career as a registered dietitian. When she isn’t cooking, she spends her time playing rugby and enjoying all the outdoor activities Colorado has to offer. She is looking forward to inspiring a love of food and wellness in others.